Booming demand and price increases drive airport profits higher while quality of service remains flat

3 April 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its annual Airport Monitoring Report for 2012-13. The ACCC has found that more investment will be required if airports are to adequately deal with current congestion, accommodate future passenger growth and improve service levels.

“The 2012-13 report shows that all monitored airports continued to be profitable, however, for the second year in a row, only one airport achieved a quality of service rating higher than ‘satisfactory’ while there were continued signs of congestion,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Brisbane was the only airport to improve its quality of service, while Sydney Airport’s overall quality of service was again rated the lowest among monitored airports.”

The ACCC reports annually on the performance of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney airports.

While Brisbane Airport improved its quality of service rating marginally, ratings for the other monitored airports remained comparatively flat during 2012-13.

“All airports also reported higher car parking revenues in 2012-13’ Mr Sims said.

All monitored airports reported growth in revenues and margins from their aeronautical services. Relatively strong growth in both domestic and international passenger numbers and increases in some aeronautical charges contributed to this result.

“With growing profits and limited competition airports are in a position to improve their capacity and the quality of service,” Mr Sims said.

The report argues that continuing signs of congestion suggest that despite recent investment, it is not clear that the type, size and timing of the investments have added sufficient capacity to avoid aeronautical and landside congestion.

“It is likely that the current infrastructure at monitored airports will be under increasing pressure in future years given evidence of aeronautical and landside congestion at some airports,” Mr Sims said.

Further details of results of this year’s monitoring for each airport and statistical tables and charts are attached.

Background

The Australian Government has directed the ACCC to monitor the performance of the four largest airports until 2020.

This report provides information on price changes for services provided to airlines (aeronautical charges such as aircraft landing and parking charges) and to consumers (car parking charges), revenues, and indicators of quality of aeronautical services.

Information on service quality is derived from subjective responses to surveys of passengers, airlines and border agencies, and from objective data collected by the ACCC. The ‘overall average quality of service’ measure is calculated as an average of these ratings.

Sydney Airport

  • Overall average quality of service was unchanged at ‘satisfactory’.
  • Sydney Airport’s overall quality of service was again rated the lowest among monitored airports.
  • Passengers’ ratings remained unchanged at ‘satisfactory’.
  • Airlines’ ratings were lower in the ‘poor’ category.

Solid growth in both international and domestic passengers and increases in some aeronautical charges have contributed to a rise in revenues and profits at Sydney Airport. Sydney Airport remains the airport with the highest aeronautical revenue and margin per passenger, and highest car parking revenue and margin per car park space.

Brisbane Airport

  • Overall average quality of service increased slightly from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘good’.
  • Passengers’ ratings increased within the ‘good’ category.
  • Airlines’ ratings were lower in the ‘satisfactory’ category.

Passenger numbers at Brisbane Airport were relatively flat with an increase of 1.9 per cent. Average aeronautical revenues and margins also increased but airlines’ ratings continued to decline in 2012-13 as the airport deals with congestion in its aeronautical infrastructure. Airlines again expressed concern with the availability of certain aircraft related services and facilities, particularly runways. Brisbane has now committed to building a third runway, but this will not expand capacity until it is completed in 2020.

Perth Airport

  • Overall average quality of service was unchanged at ‘satisfactory’.
  • Passengers’ ratings remained unchanged at ‘good’.
  • Airlines’ ratings increased slightly but remained ‘poor’.

The recent trend of strong growth continued during 2012-13 with a 10.3 per cent growth in passenger numbers, the strongest growth of all monitored airports. Perth Airport reported the largest increases in average aeronautical revenue and margins, increasing by 20.5 per cent and 45.0 per cent respectively in 2012-13. Airlines continue to express concern with management responsiveness and certain aspects of the international terminal.

Melbourne Airport

  • Overall average quality of service was unchanged at ‘satisfactory’.
  • Passengers’ ratings were unchanged at ‘good’.
  • Airlines’ ratings decreased from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘poor’.

The growth in passenger numbers at Melbourne Airport was the second highest of monitored airports during 2012-13. Average revenues and margins increased by 6.4 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively. Airlines again expressed concerns with the standard and availability of certain aircraft-related facilities, particularly aircraft parking bays. There is evidence of emerging capacity issues in terminal forecourt areas and connecting road system.

Supporting data

Attached to this news release are tables and charts providing selected data on monitored airports’ performances during 2012-13:

  • Passenger numbers increased at each of the monitored airports (tables 1 and 2)
  • All monitored airports reported real increases in aeronautical revenues (tables 1 and 2)
  • Changes in car park prices included prices that fell and prices that increased in real terms (tables 3 and 4)
  • All airports reported higher car parking revenues and most reported higher car parking margins (tables 5 and 6)
  • Data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics suggests decreasing rates of on-time flight arrivals across the network of monitored airports (chart 1)
  • Compared with 2002-03, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth airports in 2012-13 had higher real average aeronautical prices but lower ratings of average aeronautical service quality (chart 2).
Table 1: Key indicators for the monitored airports for 2012–13

Airport

Passenger numbers

 


(million)

Total aeronautical revenue
 


($million)

Aeronautical revenue per passenger
 


($)

Total aeronautical margin
 


($million)

Aeronautical operating margin per passenger
 

($)

Brisbane

21.6

227.3

10.52

100.1

4.63

Melbourne

30.0

280.0

9.34

112.3

3.75

Perth

14.7

160.5

10.92

67.9

4.63

Sydney

37.8

587.8

15.53

291.2

7.69

Note: Comparisons across monitored airports must be treated with caution. Results can be affected by the airports’ different terminal configurations and the different approaches to valuing assets.

Table 2: Percentage change in key indicators from 2011–12 to 2012–13

Airport

Passenger numbers

Total aeronautical revenue

Aeronautical revenue per passenger

Total aeronautical margin

Aeronautical operating margin per passenger

Brisbane

+ 1.9%

+ 4.6%

+ 2.7%

+ 3.2%

+ 1.3%

Melbourne

+ 5.7%

+ 12.4%

+ 6.4%

+ 14.4%

+ 8.3%

Perth

+ 10.3%

+ 32.9%

+ 20.5%

+ 59.9%

+ 45.0%

Sydney

+ 4.2%

+ 5.8%

+ 1.5%

+ 6.9%

+ 2.6%

Note: Changes for financial data are presented in real terms (base year = 2012–13)

Table 3: Car parking prices as at 30 June 2013*
Airport Short-term car parking Long-term car parking
  1 hour 3 hours 8 hours 24 hours 1 day 7 days
Brisbane $14.00 $23.00 $52.00 $52.00 $42.00 $142.00
Melbourne $12.00 $28.00 $56.00 $56.00 $29.00 $79.00
Perth $6.00 $12.00 $22.00 $38.00 $20.00 $95.00
Sydney $16.00 $32.00 $56.00 $56.00 $26.00 $130.00
Table 4: Percentage change in car parking prices from 30 June 2012 to 30 June 2013
Airport Short-term car parking Long-term car parking
  1 hour 3 hours 8 hours 24 hours 1 day 7 days
Brisbane - 2.2% + 2.2% + 1.7% + 1.7% + 2.7% - 0.8%
Melbourne - 2.2% - 2.2% - 0.4% - 0.4% - 2.2% + 0.3%
Perth - 2.2% + 15.0% + 41.5% - 2.2% + 15.0% - 0.1%
Sydney - 2.2% + 7.9% - 2.2% - 2.2% - 2.2% + 0.1%

Note: Real values in 2012-13 dollars

Table 5: Key car park indicators for the monitored airports for 2012-13
Airport Total airport car parking revenue


($million)
Total airport car parking operating margin

($million)
Total airport car parking spaces Airport car parking revenue per car park space

($)
Airport car parking margin per car park space Airport car parking revenue as % of total airport revenue
(%)
Brisbane 71.8 47.0 13 975 5 140 3 362 13.6
Melbourne 120.0 85.9 24 718 4 855 3 477 19.2
Perth 58.5 39.7 17 043 3 432 2 329 8.9
Sydney 111.5 76.7 15 822 7 048 4 846 10.4
Table 6: Percentage change in car parking key indicators from 2011-12 to 2012-13
Airport Total airport car parking revenue


 
Total airport car parking operating margin

 
Total airport car parking spaces Airport car parking revenue per car park space
 
Airport car parking margin per car park space Airport car parking revenue as % of total airport revenue
 
Brisbane + 15.3% + 21.3% + 8.7% + 6.1% + 11.7% + 1.1pp
Melbourne + 2.3% - 2.8% + 12.7% - 9.3% - 13.8% - 0.8pp
Perth + 13.0% + 13.6% + 9.1% + 3.6% - 4.1% + 1.9pp
Sydney + 8.6% + 8.0% + 20.6% - 10.0% - 10.4% + 0.4pp

Note: (1) pp = percentage points (2) Changes for financial data are presented in real terms (base year = 2012-13)

Additional supporting data - Charts 1 and 2 [ pdf (351.02 KB) | docx (210.54 KB) ]

*Brisbane, Perth and Sydney airports’ short-term and long-term car parking prices are based on the domestic terminal car park at each airport. Melbourne Airport’s long-term car parking prices are based on the long-term uncovered car park located at distance from the terminal precinct.

Release number: 
NR 72/14
Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917